The Bobcats who are enrolled in Dr. Parson's AP United States Government and Politics course have had quite a lot to talk about since the school year began in August. Not only are we in the middle of a pandemic, but this year has also been host to a high profile presidential election with many close congressional races in play. While this is a fascinating course to take at any time, the 2020 election has been one for the books, and one that has offered unusual scenarios that are rich for classroom discussions.
Paras G., Gauri V., and Aiden were assigned Maine's District 2 Race
In topics especially relevant to an election year, they have learned about the 2000 Presidential Election, and what a recount is, how the process may be triggered, and how it generally works. Our Bobcats were not yet alive during the 2000 Presidential election, but have learned some important potential trivia answers including the saga of the hanging chad (remember that?), and that chad is indeed the plural of chad. Over the last few months, the class has focused on election reform, voter suppression, and voter fraud. Our grade 9 students have also spent a significant amount of class time learning about campaign finance reform and the controversial Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United.
Rohan D. and Aman V. were assigned Florida's District 15 Race
In this special year, Dr. Parson was able to assign an activity that he really enjoys. His grade 9 students were grouped and then assigned a close House or Senate race to focus on; each group tasked with building a website that showcased their assigned race. Over the weeks, leading up to the election, and then in the weeks after, when the results trickled in; they researched the candidates, made predictions about the outcome of the races, and then tabulated election data. On each site you will find an impressive amount of detail about each specific race.
Please enjoy a sampling of our student created websites:
Sidhant C. and Sammi K. were assigned Iowa's District 1 Race
Dr. Parson sees importance in this assignment because it reminds his students, and all citizens, that while a presidential Election is exciting, "...there are other races that are very important for our government, and we should be giving more attention to those specific races." He shared his reverence for the assignment by explaining, "This is an excellent project as students learn about different regions of the country, research the issues that are important to those regions, and select a candidate who they believe will best address those specific issues for the people of that region. They do this without thinking about party affiliation, but instead by really matching a candidate to the issue at hand - which is what we are supposed to do in a democracy. An opportunity to focus on the creative aspect of the facts and figures we cover day to day in class is always a welcome exercise for our students."
A big election for a big year. Good job, Bobcats!
BASIS Independent Silicon Valley is a grades 5-12 private middle and high school based in San Jose, California, providing students an internationally benchmarked liberal arts and sciences curriculum
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